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January 4, 2013

Weather in Rio Grande do Sul Much Improved Over 2011/12

Farmers in Rio Grande do Sul in southern Brazil are very pleased that the weather conditions this growing season are much improved compared to a year ago. Last year at this time, farmers in the state were facing one of the most severe droughts in recent memory, which resulted in severe yield losses for both their soybean and corn crops. This year though, the weather has been much better.

The planting pace started off slower than normal with dry weather during the month of September and then a hard freeze in parts of the state on September 26th. The cold weather impacted some of the corn that had already been planted by reducing the plant populations and farmers had to replant some of their corn crop.

The weather improved during October allowing most farmers to start planting their 2012/13 corn crop. The rainfall during November was excessive at times, which negatively impacted the wheat harvest, but allowed for good vegetative development of the newly planted corn and soybean crops. December ended with ample rainfall and most of the crops rated in good condition.

Meteorologists in the state are now forecasting that the weather during January will also be beneficial for crop development. They are predicting that the northern half of the state, where most of the row crops are grown, should receive 2-3 inches of precipitation during the first half of January and then 1-2 inches during the second half of the month. Adequate rainfall is also predicted for February and March as well

The soybean crop in the state is in vegetative development with the earlier planted soybeans starting to flower. Emater, the state extension service, is expecting the soybean yields in the municipality of Ijui located in the northern part of the state to average 50 sacks per hectare (3,000 kg/ha or 43.5 bu/ac). The soybeans in northern Rio Grande do Sul will be harvested during March and April.

A significant portion of the corn in the state is grown for silage by local dairy farmers and they are expected to start harvesting their silage corn in January. Many farmers then plant a second crop of corn to be harvested for silage during May. The corn grown for grain will start to be harvested later in January and into February. Corn yields in Ijui are anticipated to be in the range of 80 to 100 sacks per hectare (4,800 to 6,000 kg/ha or 74 to 92 bu/ac). Corn yields are expected to be a little lower than expected due to reduced plant populations caused by the cold weather in late September.